Why Motivation Sucks
It's hard to find motivation. I set a goal to write an article at least three times a week. I'm not great at writing, to begin with, and it's not always easy to come up with a topic. Today I wanted to avoid it altogether. I've got a lot of work piling up I need to get done and it would be easy to put this aside for another day.
Make a List
I start every day writing a list of things I would like to do before the day is over. Then I order them from things I don't want to do, to things I do want to do. Then I start at the top. It sucks but it always makes me feel more accomplished at the end of the day. If I don't make it to the things I did want to do during the day, I feel less guilty about it.
Today, writing was at the top of my list. I knew I didn't write Friday so if I skipped today, I may not do it tomorrow either. Then I would fall out of the habit. Today I chose to rely on discipline over motivation. If you set up systems in your life to fall back on when the motivation isn't there, you can rely on those systems to keep you moving forward. If you wake up every morning and rely on your motivation to get out of bed, you're going to spend a lot of days stuck in bed.
Stop Making So Many Decisions
Our lives are full of decisions. We are making decisions we don't even realize. We wake up and decide how many times we are going to hit snooze before we get out of bed. We decide what glass we're going to pour our juice into. We decide what juice we want. We decide what we're going to eat for breakfast and what plate we're going to eat our breakfast on. Big plate? Small plate? Eggs? Oatmeal? What clothes are we going to wear today? T-shirt? Button-up? It's exhausting. Even before we leave the house we've made 100 decisions.
This is the reason why people like Steve Jobs always wore the same black turtleneck and blue jeans. It's why Mark Zuckerberg always wears the same t-shirt. Wasting your time and energy on frivolous things makes it harder to spend time on the important things. You end up wasting all your motivation getting out of the house.
There plenty of ways to live your life without suffering from decision fatigue. Some people are more extreme than others. But even little things like needing to dig through a messy drawer to find a pen can wear on you. Do something today to help relieve your decision fatigue. Clean out that junk drawer, donate those clothes you keep digging through to get to the clothes you actually wear. Even small things will help clear your mind.
Avoiding decision fatigue will help you stay on track without relying on motivation. It's why I know every morning when I get to my office, the first thing I do is make my list and sort it from worst to best. I know on days I'm just not feeling it, I can rely on my list to still get me through a productive day.